How To Prevent A Broken Heart From Causing A Broken Heart

Law Articles

People who go through divorces already know how stressful and challenging they can be. While it's a well-known fact that a divorce can do a number on your bank account, recent research has found separating from your spouse may also bad for your heart and not just in the sad love song kind of way. Here's more information about this connection and what you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack after divorce.

The Correlation Between Heart Attacks and Divorce

Conducted by researchers at Duke University and published in the Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes journal, the study looked at 16,000 people over a 20-year period of time and found that women's risk of a heart attack increased by 25 percent after divorce and 77 percent after multiple separations. Men's risk increased 30 percent after two or more divorces. However, unlike women, that risk vanished after the men remarried.

While researchers didn't find a direct connection between divorce and heart failure, they hypothesize that factors related to or caused by the separation may be the culprits.

For example, as noted previously, divorce is very stressful. Dividing marital property, working out child custody and support issues, and dealing with friends and family members with strong opinions about the separation can make a person feel as though he or she is trapped in a vice. Studies on how chronic stress affects the body have found it plays a part in poor heart health.

Other things that may contribute to increased heart attack risk after divorce include:

  • The onset of mental or emotional illness such as depression and anxiety
  • Negative lifestyle changes such as drinking or smoking
  • Reduced interest or effort in maintaining good health such as stopping exercising or increased consumption of unhealthy foods
  • Loss of social support from friends and family members

Protecting Your Heart Health

Possibly the best thing you can do to prevent heart damage is to find ways to manage the stress related to the divorce. For instance, a survey by the American Institute of CPAs found married couple argued the most about money, and financial issues are often acerbated by divorce. Looking for ways to compromise on issues related to the division of money and property can reduce the stress involved with dividing up marital assets.

Another thing you may need to do is set boundaries with friends and family members. Loved ones often mean well when they give you advice on how you should manage your divorce. However, unsolicited input from others can sometimes make the situation worse. Don't be afraid to nicely tell the people in your social network to stay out of your business unless you ask for their opinions.

At the same time, though, it's a good idea to obtain as much emotional support as possible. Keeping your emotions bottled up inside only increases your level of stress. Support groups for divorcees and mental health professionals provide healthy and safe outlets for you to work out any emotional difficulties you may be having with the divorce.

Other things you can do to help manage stress and protect your heart include:

  • Exercising regularly. Exercise can alleviate stress and a host of emotional issues including depression and anxiety. Even 5 minutes of exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety.
  • Avoiding taking up bad habits like drinking, smoking, or consuming recreational drugs. These may temporarily assuage the negative feelings you may have about the divorce, but consuming these products will cause long-lasting damage to your body.
  • Exchanging unhealthy foods for ones that support your mind and body. The sugar, fat, and salt in cookies, ice cream, potato chips, and other junk food may taste really good—and may give you a temporary boost—but they can lead to problems like high blood pressure and heart damage. Instead, strive to maintain a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Not only will you have more energy, the vitamins and minerals will help your body manage the negative effects of stress better.

For help with making your divorce go as smoothly as possible, connect with a family law attorney from a site like in your area.


17 April 2015

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